Stairs, Stairs, and More Stairs!

Today was another stair-climbing day for Bella and me. Bella seems to really like the stairs at Golden Gardens when she starts up, then casts me looks of mixed frustration and despair as they just keep on going and going and going….

I suspect that part of the reason she starts up them in the first place is that the dog park is in the middle and she’s looking forward to the day we can romp in the enclosure with other dogs. That day has not yet come, but we hope it will soon. First we both need a little more training on how to behave around strange dogs–which does not include leaping wildly onto the backs of new friends (yes I’m talking to you, Bella.) Or yelling and shying when the strange new dog barks at you (umm… that would be me, shamefully.)

Golden Gardens is close to our marina and it’s a nice easy walk to the beach there. Going up and down the stairs, however, is a different story. The stairs are divided into to major sections: the lower section from Golden Gardens Drive to the dog park; and the upper section starting just above the dog park and going up to the intersection of NW 85th St and 32nd Ave NW.

The stair trail is actually famous. Here’s the description from’s trail listing:

Description: Run through Crown Hill (Whittier Heights) to Ballard. Hit Seaview Ave and run along the marina. Pass under the Rail bridge and pick-up a trail about 30 yards on the East side of the road. Take the switch backs and stairs up a 325 ft elevation gain. You’ll leave the woods by Cafe Fiore, then head east on 80th to close the loop. (Read more about the trail at )

Yup, you read that right: 325 feet and most of it feels like it’s straight up, because the horizontal distance from the bottom of the trail to the top is only 800 feet, just a bit more than a tenth of a mile. That’s a 42% grade and a total of 287 stairs as well as some steep trail segments!

So imagine Bella and I walking along the beach and then turning toward the hill…. The stairs begin a few feet up Golden Gardens Drive from the beach area and the easy way to get there is through a tunnel that goes under the railroad tracks and into a parking lot. Bella gets disoriented by noises in the tunnel and then hauls me along a steep bit of sidewalk

GG Steep Cobbled walkway

Steep cobbled walkway from the tunnel to the stairs

to the bottom of the stairs leading to the dog park.

GGLower Stair entrance

The bottom of the lower stairs to the dog park

Oh yeah, that looks pretty doesn’t it? But don’t be deceived: this segment has more than 150 stairs and they are steep. We go up the stairs and Bella keeps giving me “the look” for being so slow all the way up.

Nearly to the dog park, the stairs have broken a bit and are actually a little V-shaped and quite steep, deep and uneven. Here’s a link to a flckr photo of someone standing at the top of this segment. (Not my copyright, folks, so… go look if you like, but I won’t embed it.)

We currently eschew the actual dog park and walk across the lawn to the last bit of the “lower stairs” before crossing the street for the “upper stairs.”

Stairs up...

Past the dog park, heading for the upper stairs

And those upper stairs…? This is what they looked like while they were being constructed:

GGStairs WPA

Golden Gardens Stairs under construction, 1936

Yup, that’s steep stuff.

But that’s not all. There’s still a trail, a set of wooden steps set into a switchback and the final stairs. When we reach the top and stagger out of the tunnel of trees, this is what we see:

Caffe Fiore

Caffe Fiore!

Yesterday we walked down 32nd–and got gloriously lost about four times–but this time, I thought we’d just turn around and go back down the stairs. Poor Bella wanted to dash, but I can’t so this is what we saw as we turned around….

GG Top Stairs down

Looking down from the top of the Golden Gardens stairs

Down the stairs, down the switchback, down the trail, down the stairs… Oh my they look even steeper from up here!

down stairs

Looking down the stairs toward the dog park

Gallup, gallup goes Bella down the stairs!

Across the dog park lawn and to the lower stairs… they look so flat, but we know they aren’t!

Stairs down from dog park

The stairs coming back down from the dog park look so flat...

Down the stairs, down the sidewalk and the cobbels, through the tunnel….

Wow! I’m tired.

Bella just wants to play in the sand at the beach now. I’m such a wuss. 😉


About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
This entry was posted in dog, Personal blither, photos, PUPdate, Seattle, walking with the dog. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Stairs, Stairs, and More Stairs!

  1. Miss Bliss says:

    Now THAT is some exercise! I bet it helps to get Bella tired out though so she can settle down at home.

  2. She’s being a perfect darling so far today. 🙂 She’s such a sweetie, even if she thinks I’m horribly slow.

  3. Kat says:

    I would like to attempt that climb some day….looks like a challenge, and I lik challenges.

  4. It’s considered one of the tougher walks in Seattle–which is not a city for people who don’t like inclines.

  5. I live further down on 85th and take those stairs up and down fairly often. The reward is Cafe Fiore at the top. The little Mexican place next to Fiore is pretty good too.

    i look for you and the pup when I ride past the boats in the harbor. I’m gonna try one of those stand up paddle boards someday too.

    yay for walking!

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